JAMIE HILL - Thursday, June 23, 2011
After a strong season with Hertha Berlin's reserve team that was capped by a debut for the US U-20 national team, Terrence Boyd has joined the growing ranks of young Americans who have impressed in Germany.
Like many American players in Germany, Boyd is a dual national. The 20-year-old is the son of an American father and a German mother.
"I was born in Germany," Boyd told YA. "My mom is German. My dad's from New York and they got to know each other when he was in the army in Germany. I lived in New York for one year as a baby, in Queens, then they got divorced and I was raised [in Germany]."
The Bremen-born forward has spent a number of years in Hertha's academy system, but the past year was his best yet. In Boyd's first season with the reserve team, he started as a bench player but later earned a place in the starting lineup after he began to score regularly. By the end of the season, he had notched 13 goals.
Boyd credits patience and hard work for his success.
"It was hard because the coach had another striker who scored lots of goals last season, so he played a lot in the beginning," Boyd acknowledged. "I just trained hard and focused on my passing and keeping the ball, because I had some weaknesses there. With some playing time, I started scoring and playing well and then in the second half of the season I was starting games and everything worked out. It was quite a good feeling then."
Boyd's accomplishments did not go unnoticed in Germany. At the end of the season, it was announced that he would sign with the reigning German champions, Borussia Dortmund. The two year deal is Boyd's first professional contract, a landmark moment in every young soccer player's career.
"Dortmund scouted me during the second half of the season, for about three months," Boyd said. "I was waiting for Hertha, but Dortmund was really interested and they are German champions. They have a good youth system, too.
"My goal is to play there; I'm working on my first pro contract and I'm hoping to train one or two times with the first team," Boyd stated. "First of all my goal is to work hard and play well for the reserves."
Boyd now faces the daunting task of breaking into the German giants' first team squad. He will begin with Dortmund's reserve team under the watchful eye of the manager, David Wagner.
Boyd only recently learned that Dortmund's reserve manager was former US national team forward and fellow German-American.
"I was talking to [Wagner], but to be honest, I didn't know," Boyd admitted. "I just learned that he's half American."
Boyd is no stranger to playing alongside Americans. During his time in Berlin, Hertha's academy has been stocked with numerous Americans. Boyd is friends with the group, which includes Alfredo Morales, John Anthony Brooks, and Jerome Kiesewetter.
"We [German-Americans] are all friends and also in the past there was Bryan Arguez and Ellis McLoughlin," said Boyd. "I follow their careers and we keep in touch. John Brooks just got his first professional contract, too."
Boyd's experience with American players increased significantly this past May, when he was invited to his first US camp in France, where the U-20 team played two matches against their French counterparts.
"The camp was a big appearance for me," Boyd said, "I've never had a chance to feel how it is to represent a country and that was quite a nice feeling. I was nervous, but in the end I think it worked out for me."
Despite playing out of position for much of the time, the forward thought he acquitted himself well.
"Unfortunately I had to play right midfield at the beginning both matches, but I was able to switch back to forward in the middle of the game," mentioned the new Dortmund player. "I'm not a midfielder, but it was okay. I think I played well -- I could do better -- but it was okay."
Boyd feels that he is at his best as a center forward.
"I'm a central striker," Boyd explained. "I'm a box player, the one keeping the ball. I'm great at headers; I've got a big body and I try to use it. I'm not as comfortable on the wings."
The young forward was especially pleased with the US' performance given the hodgepodge of players in camp. While the US U-20 team included a core of regulars, there were a number of new and unfamiliar faces. Meanwhile, their opposition was a French team that had lifted the UEFA U-19 trophy in 2010.
"We were really a mixture, with seven players from Europe," observed Boyd. "I think we did quite a good job. It was fun to spend time with the guys."
Boyd's debut with the U-20 team had come a little later than he might have hoped. Thomas Rongen invited him to the December U-20 camp in Florida, but Boyd was unable to attend because he had yet to receive his American passport at that time.
"In December 2010, I was invited to the camp in Florida to play Canada, but unfortunately I didn't have my passport so I had to wait until January or February when I got it," Boyd lamented. "I was waiting for some papers from my family and that hadn't happened yet. That was quite a bad feeling."
Now that Hertha Berlin and the US U-20 team are in the rearview mirror, Boyd has new objectives in front of him. In the coming months, the forward will embark on his career at Borussia Dortmund. He is also hoping to build on his U-20 experience and compete for a place on the US Olympic team. While both goals could prove to be very challenging, a continuation of his strong play in the coming season will take bring them ever closer to fruition.